THE LIEBERMAN/BROWN ‘TEA’ BILL…. As expected, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) moved forward with his proposal to strip Americans of their citizenship if they’re believed to have ties to foreign terrorists. Also as expected, Lieberman didn’t have to wait too long before picking up a Republican co-sponsor for his proposal — Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) will be Lieberman’s partner on this one, and a companion measure was introduced in the House.
And while there was some talk this week about Dems possibly supporting the “Terrorist Expatriation Act,” yesterday, the White House signaled its opposition.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he doesn’t know of a single person at the White House who supports legislation unveiled Thursday by Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) that would strip the citizenship of Americans with ties to foreign terrorist groups.
“I have not heard anybody that supports it at all,” Gibbs told reporters at his daily briefing, when asked about the administration’s position on the measure put forward by Lieberman and Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.). Pennsylvania Reps. Jason Altmire (D) and Charlie Dent (R) are sponsoring companion legislation in the House.
Though Gibbs didn’t go into too many policy specifics, he added that the Lieberman proposal would not be “an effective way” to combat terrorism.
What’s fascinating is that the positions on the proposal are not falling along traditional lines. The White House doesn’t seem to care for it, but the State Department saw some value in the plan. Many Senate Republicans appear to be on board, but House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is not. In fact, Boehner, echoing Glenn Beck’s sentiment, told reporters yesterday, “If they are a U.S. citizen, until they are convicted of some crime, I don’t see how you would attempt to take their citizenship away. That would be pretty difficult under the U.S. Constitution.”
My friend Adam Serwer has been covering the TEA bill closely this week, and had another item last night on why the proposal wouldn’t work. “The point of culture-war counterterrorism isn’t security,” he explained. “It’s a ritualistic banishing of the bogeymen, a quixotic crusade for satisfaction through indiscriminate and premature punitiveness.”